July 18, 2020

One of the female trailblazers in the Jackson County legal community will retire from the bench after a legal career that spanned 45 years, including 18 years as a circuit court judge.

Judge Sandra C. Midkiff was appointed to Division 1 of the Jackson County Circuit Court in March 2002 by Governor Robert Holden. She steps down from the bench as she reaches the state’s mandatory retirement age of 70.

Midkiff graduated with honors from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School in 1975. Her graduating class of 200 students included fewer than 20 women. In February 2020, she was honored by her alma mater with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Midkiff was also a founding member in 1975 of the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City.

“I can’t believe how quickly the past 18 years have gone by!” Midkiff said. “I have loved my job–without a doubt! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my time on the bench. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the public and our court as a circuit judge. I leave with such fondness for my fellow judges and for the many, many wonderful lawyers and good people that have come through Division One.”

At the time of her appointment to the bench, she had owned and operated a private law practice for 26 years. She litigated many types of cases during that time including employment discrimination, civil rights, consumer litigation, and business and commercial torts.

Presiding Judge David M. Byrn said that Midkiff’s retirement is a loss for the Court.

“For over 18 years, Judge Midkiff has served the judiciary, the citizens of Jackson County and the citizens of Missouri with distinction, embodied by her well-deserved receipt of the Cardozo Judicial Courage and Excellence Award in 2008,” said Byrn. “Judge Midkiff’s dedication to the administration of justice is unquestioned and her passion for insuring that all litigants, attorneys and citizens are fully and fairly heard has been evident to all. Judge Midkiff will be missed.”

Judge Midkiff was married to the late Albert A. Riederer who was also very involved in the Kansas City legal community. He served as Jackson County legislator, prosecutor, and Missouri Western District Court of Appeals judge — all before Judge Midkiff came onto the bench. Interestingly, Judge Midkiff served in the same courtroom as her father-in-law, Henry A. Riederer, who was a judge of Division 1 from 1952 until his death in 1972. However, she did not have an opportunity to meet him because he died before she met and married his son.

Midkiff retires effective August 10, 2020.